Friday, December 23, 2011

Flat Out Love by Jessica Park & GIVEAWAY

Source: Gift

My Summary:

Julie Seagle has just arrived in Boston from her Ohio home.  But seeing it from the side of the road in front of a taco shop that matches the address of her off-campus housing was not really want she had in mind for college.  Her mother's college roommate sends her son Matt, the MIT tech greek, to rescue her and soon she is living with the Watkin's family.  No big deal, it's just a place to crash around attending classes and such but there's something off about this family.  The parents are kind but strangely absent... a lot.  Matt is friendly but very wrapped up in his studies.  The 13-year old sister, Celeste, is beautiful, incredibly intelligent but also a lot co-dependent on a flat life sized cut out of her other brother Finn.  Flat Finn goes everywhere with her making her a social outcast.  The real Finn is traveling the world, making only the occasional appearance on facebook or chat.  Surely this isn't normal?  Why does everyone in this family accept the strange behavior of Celeste?  Julie feels compelled to help somehow.  She makes friends with Finn over facebook and tries to figure out the mystery.  But as she digs deeper into this mystery, she finds herself falling for a very absent Finn.  When the mystery unravels, Julie finds herself in the middle of a very emotional confrontation that is sure to pull her and the Watkins family apart.

My Thoughts:

4 stars - a great read

I find myself needing to read contemporary YA books lately.  I think it may be the stand alone ones that I'm drawn to because I have so many series going that I just need something where the conflict gets resolved in one book.  It was during one of these times that I picked up Flat Out Love.  I will admit that it wasn't the cover that got me to read this one.  I don't care for the cover and I don't think it fits this book at all.  Now if there had been a river running in front of that bench, I could have understood it.  But I picked this one up because it unexpectedly landed in my email, a gift from a secret Santa.  It came at just the right moment so I read it.

This book mixed some dysfunctional family issues with a college love interest and threw in some mystery.  I enjoyed trying to discover the real reason why Celeste walked around with a life sized cardboard cutout of her older brother.  I found clues and I began to suspect the reason around Christmas in the story.  Soon I was sure what the real reason was but Julie still hadn't figured it out.  I was okay with that and really enjoyed watching her finally get it and then finally accept it.

I must say that I loved Matt the most in this book.  He is so kind to his sister.  He gives up a lot to be there for her when he is surely struggling too.  I loved his geeky shirts and the grief that Julie gave him over them.  I loved that he was good at math and helped her get through her math class.  I loved that he couldn't stay mad at Julie.  I loved Matt.

I really enjoyed watching Celeste become a teenager in this book.  She lives with two college professors that speak with very adult vocabulary.  It's not surprising that Celeste speaks that way too and with her social status of very strange, she is far from the average teen.  But over the course of the book, she discovers what it means to be a teenager.  Loved that.

Julie and Finn are an interesting pair.  I struggled with an online relationship but I was happy about the growth that Julie made throughout the book even though she thought she was really helping the Watkins family.

If you enjoy YA contemporary, then this is one to check out for sure.

I am not compensated for any of the links in this post. 


Thanks to Jessica Park, I have an eBook copy of Flat Out Love to give to one of my followers.  You know the drill, rafflecopters below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This sounds like a book I'd love. Where is the rafflecopter?

  2. Great review I'm more and more leaning towards contemps as well it,s a good change and I was wonderging about this one. It seems to have great characters and a good story I'll have to pick it up! Great review!

    Xpresso Reads

  3. Flat-Out Love is a heart stopping love story that took my breath away. This young girl that finds herself about to begin college, and homeless after being scammed through the internet. Luckily, a family that happens to be her mother college buddy takes her in. Julie seems to make a sudden acclimation into this family. I was impressed by the author's ability to keep this from seeming unrealistic. It was entertaining to see the seeming sibling banter between Julie and Matt, and the older sister role that Julie embraces with Celeste. As the story begins to unravel the courage is evident in Julie to embrace the situation; rather than move on. She becomes determined to find a way to help Celeste and the rest of her family.